November 24, 2017 6:15 pm

Ontario government spending $1.3M on London poverty reduction programs

Deputy Premier Deb Matthews announces anti-poverty funding in London, November 24, 2017, as Dan Ashbourne of the London Family Court Clinic, one of the recipient organizations to the funding, looks on.

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Four London organizations will be getting a piece of a $16-million local poverty reduction fund, earmarked by the province.

At a Friday announcement, Deputy Premier Deb Matthews said $1.3 million would be going to the London Family Court Clinic, Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness in London, London District Catholic School Board, and M’Wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre.

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The money is directed to specific programs within each group. The lion’s share, $570,400, is for a program the London Family Court Clinic, which served as the backdrop for Matthews’ announcement, is developing to “evaluate the impact of a trauma-informed approach to counselling and community support services that work to stabilize court-involved youth.”

READ MORE: London third highest city in Canadian child poverty rates: 2015 census data

“LFCC and our partner organizations involved in this important work with at-risk young people appreciate the support of the Ontario government to aid us in our evaluation of these new initiatives with youth,” said the group’s executive director, Dan Ashbourne.

Much of the money will aid organizations in assessing how existing programs are performing — and what ways they might be improved or expanded.

“With these investments, organizations in southwestern Ontario will be able to help us learn more about what approaches are making a difference for those living in poverty in our community,” Matthews said. “This will help government, communities and all of our partners design and deliver more effective programs to combat poverty using proven approaches.”

The Catholic school board’s $438,100 grant will also benefit youth, allowing the board to expand its Mindup initiative, a “social and emotional learning” program that strives to boost academic performance and self-regulation, and also combat truancy.

The announcement from the province comes just two days after the federal government unveiled its 10-year, $40 billion, affordable housing strategy, which engages with provinces and municipalities to fund and implement a sustainable housing solution.

The “housing first” approach — which believes housing to be the first priority in tackling other poverty issues — will be addressed by the Unity Project’s $232,800 boost to revamp its emergency shelter work.

READ MORE: 1.2 million Canadian children living in poverty: census

“Ontario is investing in programs that will measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty,” said Ontario’s housing minister, Peter Milczyn. “By harnessing the creativity of local partners, identifying innovative community-driven solutions, and building on evidence-based best practices, we can make strong inroads in tackling poverty.”

M’Wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre received $56,900 to evaluate the impact of the Giiwe Project, which “aims to increase the number of people housed by fostering a more coordinated and culturally safe system of supports.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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